MIAMI (AP) — Authorities were seeking more witnesses today to help explain what led a naked man to start chewing another naked man's face and whose only response when confronted by police was to growl and keep attacking - even after being shot.
At least one witness so far has said he saw the attack Saturday on a busy highway off-ramp. Police have identified the attacker as Rudy Eugene, 31.
The victim, who has not been identified, is in critical condition at a hospital. Both men were naked at the time of the attack, The Miami Herald reported.
"We know that there were many people on the MacArthur Causeway and we're hoping they come forward," Detective William Moreno was quoted Monday by the newspaper as saying.
Police have released few details about the attack, other than confirming that an officer had fatally shot a suspect.
A police spokesman and the Miami-Dade County medical examiner did not immediately return telephone calls Tuesday from The Associated Press.
Witness Larry Vega was riding his bicycle Saturday afternoon off the MacArthur Causeway that connects downtown Miami with Miami Beach when he saw the savage attack, he told local news media.
"The guy was, like, tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, 'Get off!'" Vega told Miami television station WSVN (http://bit.ly/L6kwWt). "The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like, ripping his skin."
Vega flagged down a Miami police officer, who he said repeatedly ordered the attacker to get off the victim. The attacker just picked his head up and growled at the officer, Vega said.
As the attack continued, Vega said the officer shot the attacker, who continued chewing the victim's face. The officer fired again, killing the attacker.
A surveillance camera from The Miami Herald building nearby captured images of the men's naked legs lying side by side after the shooting.
Vega said the victim appeared gravely injured.
"It was just a blob of blood," Vega said. "You couldn't really see, it was just blood all over the place."
Vega declined to speak Tuesday with The Associated Press. He said he was trying to put the attack behind him.
Ives Eugene, who identified himself as Rudy Eugene's uncle, described his nephew as a "nice and hard-working" man who washed cars at a local dealership.
In a telephone interview, Eugene, 55, said his nephew had asked his girlfriend to borrow her car, but she said no. "So he rode the bicycle, and he never came back home."
Ives Eugene said the family heard Monday about the attack but did not know what sparked it.
Rudy Eugene's ex-wife declined to be interviewed when reached by The Associated Press by telephone.